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New Scheme for The Navodaya Vidyalaya

The Navodaya Vidyalaya Scheme provides for opening of one Navodaya Vidyalaya in each district of the country. Opening of new Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas in uncovered districts depends on the willingness of the concerned State Government to make available suitable land free of cost for construction of school buildings and required temporary accommodation (free of rent) to start the Vidyalaya, and is subject to the availability of funds and approval by the competent authority. 
About Navodaya Vidyalayas
Motto:
the selection of talented rural children as the target group and the attempt to provide them with quality education comparable to the best in a residential school system. Such education would enable students from rural areas to compete with their urban counterparts on an equal footing. The National Policy on Education-1986 envisaged the setting up of residential schools, to be called Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas that would bring out the best of rural talent.
Objectives 1.To serve the objectives of excellence coupled with equity and social justice.
2.To promote national integration by providing opportunities to talented children, largely rural, from different part of the country, to live and learn together and develop their full potential.3.To provide good quality modern education, including a strong component of culture, inculcation of values, awareness of the environment, adventure activities and physical education.4.To ensure that all students of Navodaya Vidyalayas attain a reasonable level of competence in three language as envisaged in the Three Language Formula; and
5.To serve, in each district, as focal point for improvement in quality of school education through sharing of experiences and facilities.
SALIENT FEATURES
1.
JNVST: Entrance on the basis of Merit
2.Reservation for Rural, S.C., S.T. and Girl Students
3.Promotion of National Integration
About Navodaya Vidyalayas Samiti
Navodaya Vidyalayas are run by the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti which is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Secondary & Higher Education, Govt of India. The Chairman of the Samiti is the Hon’ble Minister of Human Resource Development.The Samiti (body) is responsible for the overall management including allocation of funds to manage the affairs as well as exercises the authority of powers.

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Ganga River Basin Management Plan-2015 : Report by Group of IITs

The consortium of seven IITs has submitted its report “Ganga River Basin Management Plan-2015” (GRBMP-2015) to the Ministry Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. The report is under consideration in consultation with other Ministries.

According to the Plan, the Major issues in Ganga river basin are:- 
1
.    Over-use of natural resources of the basin 
2.    Discharge of pollutants into terrestrial and aquatic environments 
3.    Reduction in water –holding capacities and replenishment of water bodies 
4.    Mutilation of rivers by piecemeal engineering operations 
5.    Threats to geological processes in the basin. 
About Ganga River Basin Management Plan
A comprehensive River Basin Management Plan for Ganga is being prepared by the consortium of seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) (Kanpur, Delhi, Madras, Bombay, Kharagpur, Guwahati and Roorkee). 
Objectives of Plan: 
- Taking comprehensive measures for restoration of the wholesomeness of the Ganga ecosystem and improvement of its ecological health, with due regard to the issue of competing water uses in the river basin. 
Vision:
1
. “Aviral Dhara” (Continuous Flow”), 
2. “Nirmal Dhara”(“Unpolluted Flow”), 
3. Geologic Entity, and 
4. Ecological Entity.
Other Missions for River The Ganga :
1
. Geological Safeguarding
2. Nirmal Dhara
3. Aviral Dhara
4. Ecological Restoration
5. Sustainable Agriculture
6. Disaster and Protection Recovery
7. Environmental Knowledge Building and sensitization.

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Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India formulated National Maritime Development Programme

The National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP) has been formulated by the Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India.  276 projects to be taken up for implementation over the period from the year 2005 to 2012 were indentified under this programme.  These projects are namely construction/upgradation of berths, deepening of channels, rail/road connectivity projects, equipment upgradation/modernization schemes and other related schemes for creation of backup facilities.  Total investment involved under the Programme is Rs.1,00,339 crores at 2004-05 prices.  Out of this, Rs.55,804 crores is for the Port Sector and the balance is for the Shipping and Inland Water Transport Sectors. 

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Government has decided to adopt Electronic Toll Collection System

Government has decided to adopt passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) based on EPC, Gen-2, ISO 18000-6C Standards technology for Electronic Fee Collection (EFC) system for seamless movement on National Highways. The interoperable EFC system has been installed and working on one lane in each direction on the following National Highways stretches:
- Delhi-Mumbai
- Delhi-Chandigarh
- Bangalore-Chennai
About  Electronic Fee Collection (EFC) system
In many countries electronic road tolling systems are being used but, although many of them use similar technologies, few of them are compatible at present. This leads to inefficiencies in the operation of such systems and frustration among drivers.
To address such issues in Europe, the European Commission has published a Directive on Electronic Fee Collection, which emphasizes the need for interoperability of systems. The Directive proposes to introduce the European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) that makes it mandatory for fee collection systems to use one or more of the following technologies:
1. Satellite positioning
2. Mobile communications using the GSM and GPRS standards
3. 5.8 GHz microwave technologies (DSRC).
What is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) ?
RFID stands for Radio-Frequency IDentification. The acronym refers to small electronic devices that consist of a small chip and an antenna. The chip typically is capable of carrying 2,000 bytes of data or less.
The RFID device serves the same purpose as a bar code or a magnetic strip on the back of a credit card or ATM card; it provides a unique identifier for that object. And, just as a bar code or magnetic strip must be scanned to get the information, the RFID device must be scanned to retrieve the identifying information.

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Committee submitted its report on Transgenders

An Expert Committee was constituted in the Ministry to make an in-depth study of the problems being faced by the Transgender Community and suggest suitable measures to ameliorate their problems. The Committee submitted its report on 27th January, 2014. The recommendations of the Expert Committee have been forwarded to all the State Governments/UT Administrations for taking appropriate action. Responses from sixteen States/UTs have so far been received in the Ministry. 
Who are transgender people?
Transgender people are individuals of any age or sex whose appearance, personal
characteristics, or behaviors differ from stereotypes about how men and women are
“supposed” to be. Transgender people have existed in every culture, race, and class since the story of human life has been recorded. Only the term “transgender” and the medical
technology available to transsexual people are new. In its broadest sense, transgender
encompasses anyone whose identity or behaviour falls outside of stereotypical gender norms. The Supreme Court judgement on Transgender Rights
This judgement covers persons who want to identify with the third gender as well as persons who want a transition from one identity to another, i.e. to male to female or vice versa. The Court has directed Centre and State Governments to grant legal recognition of gender identity whether it be male, female or third gender.
• Legal Recognition for Third Gender: In recognizing the third gender category, the Court ruled that fundamental rights are available to the third gender in the same manner as they are to males and females. Further, non-recognition of third gender in both criminal and civil statutes such as those relating to marriage, adoption, divorce, etc is discriminatory to the third gender.
• Legal Recognition for people transitioning within male/female binary: As for how the actual procedure of recognition will happen, the Court merely states that they prefer to follow the psyche of the person and use the ‘Psychological Test’ as opposed to the ‘Biological Test’. They also declare that insisting on Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) as a condition for changing one's gender is illegal.
• Public Health and Sanitation : Centre and State Governments have been directed to take proper measures to provide medical care to Transgender people in the hospitals and also provide them separate public toilets and other facilities. Further, they have been directed to operate separate HIV/ Sero-surveillance measures for Transgenders.
• Socio-Economic Rights : Centre and State Governments have been asked to provide the community various social welfare schemes and to treat the community as socially and economically backward classes. They have also been asked to extend reservation in educational institutions and for public appointments.
• Stigma and Public Awareness : These are the broadest directions - Center and State Governments are asked to take steps to create public awareness so that Transgender people will feel that they are also part and parcel of the social life and not be treated as untouchables; take measures to regain their respect and place in society; and seriously address the problems such as fear, shame, gender dysphoria, social pressure, depression, suicidal tendencies, and social stigma.

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policy for development of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG)

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved a policy framework for development of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) in coal and lignite bearing areas in the country. UCG is a method of extraction of energy from coal/lignite resources which are otherwise regarded as uneconomical to work through conventional mining methods. 
A policy on the lines broadly similar to the existing policy for Coal Bed Methane (CBM) development on revenue sharing basis will be adopted for offering the blocks through competitive bidding. Development of UCG is envisaged to provide for energy security. An Inter-Ministerial Committee under the Ministry of Coal with members from concerned Ministries will be responsible for identification of the areas, deciding about blocks to be put to bidding or awarding them to PSUs on nomination basis. 
Ministry of Coal may engage a consultant for development of the contract document. For development of bid documents, work programme, conducting the bidding process, evaluation of bids, monitoring and process protocols etc., Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL) will be the nodal agency. 

About Underground Coal Gasification
A significant amount of the world’s coal resources are too deep to be mined by traditional methods. However, gasification that occurs underground can convert much of this “stranded” coal into syngas that can then be used to produce power and other useful products—without having to mine it. 
Economic Benefits of UCG
There are a number of significant economic benefits associated with UCG that include:
1. No need for the coal to be mined
2. No need for coal handling
3. No need to transport the coal
4. No need to prepare the coal to be fed into a reactor
5. No need for disposing of ash or slag
6. No need for an above ground gasification plant
7. Significantly lower capital cost for project development than that of above ground plants
Environmental Benefits of UCG
There are also a number of environmental benefits with UCG:
1. Minimal land use
2
. Significantly reduced use of groundwater or freshwater
3. Underground saline water is used
4. No environmental impacts traditionally associated with coal mining and handling
5. Coal seams being gasified are below the fresh drinking water supplies
6. Significantly reduced criteria air pollutants
7. All or a substantial portion of the sulfur, mercury, arsenic, tar, ash and particulates found in coal remain underground.
8. Any sulfur or metals that reach the surface do so in a chemically reduced state, making them easier to remove
9. No landfill disposal required for ash or slag    
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Pichai pitches Project Loon for connectivity

Google's CEO Sundar Pichai has proposed Project Loon for increasing connectivity in rural areas. This project will both increase and improve connectivity. It will be most helpful in disaster hit areas as it promises to deliver unmatched connectivity even during those severe times.

Features of Project Loon:

1.It uses helium-filled balloons to provide data connectivity in remote areas.

2.Each balloon would provide connectivity to a ground area of about 40 km in diameter using a wireless communications technology called 4G.

- Technology:

Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. In the stratosphere, there are many layers of wind, and each layer of wind varies in direction and speed. Loon balloons go where they’re needed by rising or descending into a layer of wind blowing in the desired direction of travel. By partnering with Telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum, it has been made possible for people to be able to connect to the balloon network directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices. The signal is then passed across the balloon network and back down to the global Internet on Earth.Project Loon began in June 2013 with an experimental pilot in New Zealand, where a small group of Project Loon pioneers tested the Loon technology. The results of the pilot test, as well as subsequent tests in New Zealand, California’s Central Valley and in Northeast Brazil, are being used to improve the technology in preparation for the next stages of the project.

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Reva Khetrapal takes oath as Delhiu2019s Lokayukta

Reva Khetarpal (former Delhi high court judge justice) took oath as the new Lokayukta of Delhi.

About Justice Reva Khetrapal

Education: Miranda House Collage, Experiences:1. Law Faculty of the Delhi University 2.Practiced in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court from 1975 to 1991. 3.Appointed additional district and sessions judge in 1991.4.Posted as special judge (narcotics) in 1994 5.Appointed secretary, Press Council of India in 1999.6. Elevated to the HC in 2006 7.Retired in September 2014.

About Lokayukta
Establishment of the Institution:
In order to redress the grievances of the citizens which were pouring more in number, the Administrative Reforms Commission, appointed by the Union Government in 1966, recommended the constitution of the Institutions of Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta, taking a clue from the Institution like OMBUDSMAN in the Scandinavian countries. In the light of those recommendations, the Institutions of Lok Ayukta were established in various States of our country with jurisdiction to deal with complaints not only against elective public servants, but also against the other categories of public servants defined in the Act.
FUNCTIONS & DUTIES:
The matters and actions of Public servants, which can form the subject matter of the complaint to the Institution of Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta, are:
1) Any administrative action involving abuse of power for personal gain or to harm any one;
2) Administrative actions motivated by improper or corrupt motives causing loss to the State or to any person; and 
3) All actions involving outright corruption or lack of integrity.

There are three modes for the Lokayukta and the Upa-Lokayukta to act for taking up investigation of Administrative actions of the nature as stated above.
1. Firstly, any citizen or aggrieved person can make a complaint. 
2. Secondly, the Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta suo-moto can take up investigation on the basis of information received by him otherwise than by way of complaints like newspapers, reports, etc. 
3. Thirdly, the Lokayukta or Upa-Lokayukta can act on a reference from the Governor.
Members of Investigation Team:
For the purpose of conducting an investigation in accordance with the provisions of the Act, the Governor appoints a Judge or a retired Chief Justice of High Court to act as Lokayukta and one or more District Judges to act as Upa-Lokayuktas.

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World Bank sanctioned $1.5-bn for Swachh Bharat

The World Bank has approved a $1.5-billion loan for a support operation project of Swachh Bharat. This will support SBM-Gramin, the rural component of the campaign, over five years with a programme which links funds to the results.

About Swacch Bharat Mission

To accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation, the Prime Minister of India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October, 2014. The Mission Coordinator shall be Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) with two Sub-Missions, the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), which aims to achieve Swachh Bharat by 2019, as a fitting tribute to the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and sanitation.

Ministry: Ministry of Drinking water

Main Objectives:

a) Bring about an improvement in the general quality of life in the rural areas, by promoting cleanliness, hygiene and eliminating open defecation.

b) Accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas to achieve the vision of Swachh Bharat by 2nd October 2019.

c) Motivate Communities and Panchayati Raj Institutions to adopt sustainable sanitation practices and facilities through awareness creation and health education.

d) Encourage cost effective and appropriate technologies for ecologically safe and sustainable sanitation.

e) Develop wherever required, Community managed sanitation systems focusing on scientific Solid & Liquid Waste Management systems for overall cleanliness in the rural areas.  

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Lok Sabha Passes Arbitration and Reconcilliation Amendment Bill, 2015

The Lok Sabha passed the Arbitration and Reconciliation (Amendment Bill), 2015 by voice vote. It amends the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

Purpose of Arbitration and Reconcilliation Amendment Bill, 2015 :

1. To make the arbitration process more investor-friendly, cost effective and suitable for expeditious disposal of cases.

2. It will also facilitate in making India a hub of international commercial arbitration.

Suggested Amendments:

1. Relevant court for domestic and international arbitration matters.

2. Applicability of certain provisions to international commercial arbitration.

3. Powers of Court to refer a party to arbitration if agreement exists.

4. Interim order by a Court: The Act states that a party to arbitration may apply to a court for interim relief before the arbitration is complete. 

5. Fast track procedure for arbitration

6. Time period for disposal of cases by a Court

7. Time period for arbitral awards: The Ordinance introduces a provision that requires an arbitral tribunal to make its award within 12 months.  This may be extended by a six month period.

8. Appointment of arbitrators: The Act permits parties to appoint arbitrators.  If they are unable to appoint arbitrators within 30 days, the matter is referred to the court to make such appointments.

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